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An Ottoman manuscript map of Europe and North Africa relating to the Night Of Power, circa 1740.
Ink on thick, waxy paper with contemporary hand colouring and gold border, 250 x 390 mm, the place names and marginal inscriptions in Turkish language written in Arabic script, an elaborate compass rose on the left side, the entire map dotted with deliberately placed numerical inscriptions which would appear to hold the key to the map's meaning, the schematically drawn sets of twin towers denoting urban centres being unlabelled and serving a secondary, virtually decorative function; a numeral in the lower margin may indicate a date, 1154 in the Hijra, or 1741 in the Gregorian calendar; the map is in a good state of preservation, with one central vertical fold line, some spotting to upper right and left margins, and an unobtrusive old tape mark at the base of the fold line in the lower margin. The general appearance of the map, which shows Europe and the Mediterranean basin, appears to be derivative of a portion of the early sixteenth century map of Piri Reis, the Ottoman cartographer. The geographical features and political entities labelled in bold script include the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland, England, the North Sea, Spain, France,Germany, Italy, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Romania and the Great Desert (Sahara). However, if the map were intended solely to assist in navigation, these rather broad terms would proffer very little use to a seafarer or traveller. The four line inscription in the upper margin makes reference to prayers in the month Ramadan, and ends (in red ink) with an emphatic mention of the Night of Power (Lailat Al-Qadr'). This night occurs during Ramadan and is the anniversary of the night on which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the night on which God decides the fate of all mankind, and is also known as the Night of Destiny. It would seem safe to speculate that the numerals on the map refer in some way to the Night of Power, possibly relating to astronomical calculations which would aid the reader in determining precisely when this important moment would occur, depending upon which region of the map they were located in.
      [Bookseller: Douglas Stewart Fine Books]
Last Found On: 2012-05-14           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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